Take a 1960s urban motel, strip away it’s drab mid-century persona, completely reimagine it, breathe new life into it, and you have The Pearl Hotel, a stylish, modern boutique hotel with vintage quirkiness. What was once the Sportsmen’s Lodge budget motel is now an upscale minimalist hotel that makes luxury affordable. Located at the corner of Rosecrans and Fenelon Streets in Point Loma, a block from America’s Cup Harbor in San Diego Bay, the hotel has garnered significant media attention since opening in 2006. The Pearl Hotel has received accolades from Travel, Sunset, 944, Budget Travel, San Diego Home and Garden, and several other magazines, as well as the New York Times and USA Today newspapers.
The ambiance at The Pearl Hotel can best be described as fun. There is an easy-going air to the hotel that is palpable the moment you walk through the door. The modern reception area is a simple ocean blue tile and glasstop desk with driftwood and seashell accents. Guests sit across from the reservationist to check in and out. The reception area opens into both a lounge area and the bar and dining room, which in turn opens onto the patio and pool area via a moving glass wall. The effect is a seamless indoor/outdoor space that draws guests into the heart of the hotel’s social area.
The upscale vintage-modern style throughout the property indoors and out, eco-friendly touches like a poolside succulent wall, in-room fishbowls, and boxed rather than bottled water; game lounge with floor/cushion seating; 100% smoke free urban environment; pool fully stocked with pool toys; and local sustainable dining with local craft brews appeal to the young adult crowd. That it is affordable luxury in a fun environment makes it that much more enticing. The Pearl Hotel purposefully and effectively caters to young adult business and leisure guests, solo travelers, and couples. If you’re young at heart, social, and are in your element with a lively and sometimes noisy environment, it’s also for you.
The 23 sophisticated guestrooms at The Pearl Hotel come in four styles. The Super Strand, the Strand, the Jewel, and the Gem. If the pearl is a metaphor for this hotel, then the Super Strand room is a strand of priceless Tahitian black pearls and just as rare, because there is only one of them in the hotel. At 300 square feet, it is the largest of the rooms and has an airy indoor/outdoor vibe with a large balcony. Stays in this room come with two complimentary cocktails; just present your fishing bobbers at the bar.
There are three Strand rooms at The Pearl Hotel. At 250 square feet, they’re slightly smaller than the Super Strand, but come with the same amenities sans the complimentary cocktails. Expect the same king-sized pillowtop mattress with luxurious bedding, and a patio or balcony.
The Jewel is the standard room at The Pearl Hotel and there are 17 of them. These stylish rooms are anything but standard. They have 200-225 square feet of living space, and a select few have patios. Like the Strand rooms, they all have king-sized platform beds with pillowtop mattresses and the same room amenities.
The Gem is exactly that – a room to make devotees of the tiny house movement swoon. From its mirrored ceiling tiles to its English walnut and steel accents, it packs retro and contemporary minimalist luxury into its tiny 112 square feet. Gem rooms have queen-sized platform beds with the same pillowtop Sealy mattresses. There are only two of these in-demand rooms that are the perfect accommodation for solo travelers.
Room amenities include custom-designed platform beds, vintage-modern furnishings by Kartell and EQ3, custom blue wall mosaics by Michael Soriano, framed children’s artwork courtesy of ARTS – an organization benefiting at risk kids, luxurious bed linens and bath towels, hypoallergenic comforters, Spa H2O Plus bath products, and iHome docking stations. Probably the quirkiest room amenity is the tropical fish in a wall-hanging fishbowl with a nameplate bearing the fish’s name and story under it.
Room tip: For a quiet night’s sleep, avoid rooms facing the pool where all the best action takes place.
The Pearl Hotel lounge is a shag carpeted platform a couple inches off the floor with cushions, low-hanging paper lantern-style lights, built-in game tables with checkers and chess games on them, and more games, lap tables, and cushions at the ready. Sit cross-legged hunched over a thoughtful game of chess, lean back against a wall of tufted cushions with your computer perched on a lap desk over your outstretched legs, or simply sprawl out on your back and gaze outdoors through huge windows covered with sheer white curtains. The lounge is where you get to just be you.
EAT at The Pearl is the hotel’s modern retro-style bar and restaurant serving Contemporary American cuisine. Executive Chef, Elliott Townsend has a simple philosophy, “Buy local, embrace sustainability, and let the food speak for itself.” The food at EAT speaks volumes. Using fresh, locally sourced ingredients, he creates brunch, dinner, and dessert menus that wow. The dinner menu includes tantalizing small plates and entrées. Polenta Benny and chocolate French toast are brunch hits; order a big steel bowl of Cap’n Crunch Berries if you like to keep it simple. Brunch is served with bottomless mimosas for a fee. There is complimentary coffee on the bar each morning.
Furnishings in the bar, dining room, and patio are upscale and modern with white, contemporary, backless bar stools pulled up to the bar and high-top dark wood tables. White ergonomic chairs pull up to dark wood tables crammed tightly together on the patio up to the pool’s edge, and lining nearby bench seating. Not hungry? Pick your spot and take advantage of Happy Hour or Day Drinks.
The horseshoe-shaped hotel wraps around the small patio and pool area that is enclosed by dark wood fencing. The oyster-shaped saltwater pool is completely accessorized with large inflatable balls, inner tubes that hang on the wall, hanging hammock chairs, and a movie screen for Wednesday Dive In movie night. The Pearl Hotel shows classic and blockbuster movies on a 10-foot by 13-foot projection screen. Date night or a night out with friends, can include dinner, a movie, and a swim without ever leaving the hotel.
Other amenities at The Pearl Hotel include electric car plug-ins, poolside cabanas with LCD screens for semi-private gatherings, private event facilitation, concierge and airport services, ADA accessibility including a pool lift, and free wireless Internet throughout the hotel.
Point Loma has transitioned from the birthplace of California to a Portuguese dominated fishing village to the trendy sailing neighborhood it is today. The Pearl Hotel invites you to explore Point Loma. Highlights you won’t want to miss are Cabrillo National Monument that commemorates Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo landing at the tip of Point Loma in 1542, Old Point Loma Lighthouse, New Point Loma Lighthouse, and the well-known Point Loma tide pools.
Half-day open party off-shore fishing expeditions are available through Point Loma Sportfishing, scuba diving the popular kelp forest off Point Loma can be arranged through Dive Bums, and exploring San Diego Bay by speedboat, sailboat, or yacht is available from nearby Shelter Island with San Diego Boat Tours. If you’re more of a landlubber, just walk the block to America’s Cup Harbor for relaxing views of San Diego Bay, Coronado Island, and the Pacific Ocean.
Head to the Pacific side of the peninsula to Sunset Cliffs where you can enjoy spectacular San Diego sunsets and maybe even a green flash, or hike the trails and paths of Sunset Cliffs Natural Park. This is also a popular San Diego surf spot, but can be dangerous if you’re unfamiliar. Rent surfboards, wet suits, stand-up paddle boards, and kayaks from highly rated Ocean Beach Surf & Skate. They also provide group and private surf instruction.
Other local places to eat near The Pearl Hotel are Brigantine Seafood & Oyster Bar or Humphrey’s by the Bay, both on Shelter Island. Humphrey’s also sponsors a series of popular summer concerts; check their website to see who’s on deck. The casual Corvette Diner in Liberty Station, or upscale Island Prime on Harbor Island are also good choices.
Discount packages at The Pearl Hotel have included the Drink Bobber twofer promotion; Essentials Package – two welcome cocktails, one free appetizer, and complimentary overnight parking; Per Diem for business guests – two complimentary cocktails and an entrée at EAT, plus complimentary parking; and Government Travelers – discounted room and parking.
Popular promotions at EAT at The Pearl have included Monday extended Happy Hour with oysters on the half shell, and Taco Tuesdays, both with craft beer and drink specials. When it Rains it Pours offers a discount off your entire dining bill for coming in on a rainy day and mentioning the promo. Bikes n’ Brunch is the last Sunday of every month where you receive deep discounts on bottomless mimosas for brunch when you ride your bike here. Yelp check-ins at Eat have yielded a $1 drink at the bar.
Check The Pearl Hotel for current hotel and restaurant promotions.